California Literature Rides a Wave

January 11, 2012

Astonishingly, the Monday, January 2,  article by Larry Gordon, “California Literature Rides a Wave,” was on the front page of the Los Angeles Times newspaper.  No disparagement to Mr. Gordon himself, but whoever placed the article so prominently needs new lenses. The article doesn’t warrant such attention because the English professors who created these class offerings on California Literature omitted the immense European immigrant influence entirely. We’re talking about California: “The Land of Dreams,”  “The Land of Milk and Honey.” The professors have narrowed their selections to what has become parochial. Is there no California literature which includes the textures, background, and immediacy of the European tidal waves into the Garment District, or into the famous Grand Central Market which was the meeting ground of nationalities and tongues to match Babylon? Or the vast Russian community that today boasts its own heavily weighted yellow pages? Or the tsumani of the Jewish population that is the largest in the nation? Unbelievable! These professors have accomplished the typical academic narrowing. Where is their vision?

Let them look to the novel, THE PROVIDER, by Evelyn Marshall, coming out in February from Piper Press. This is the story of young Russian Jewish Rosa Galperin who immigrates to the United States in 1922 with high expectations for fulfilling her American Dream. She and her husband are drawn to California, “The Land of Milk and Honey.” Here is one of the heart-piercing locales for the immigrant experience.